Happy Memorial Day, everyone.
Date: May 26, 2014
Days Spent on Project: 463
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Person I would have sent it to: This one is hard.
So, back in the late fall of 2007, I had just finished designing three productions on that happened on top of one another. I went from doing a “small” musical in the New York Musical Theatre Festival in NYC, to Nashville Opera where I was assisting on a “small” new opera that would be remounted in New Jersey at a university’s theater department, and then I finished a production at Colby College in Maine. Back to back to back; I went to tech for the musical in NYC, the opening performance that same night, and skipped out on the party so I could head home and pack. I went to the airport the next morning for Maine and few days of fittings and work in the shop, flew to Nashville in the middle of the night, stayed there for four days, and then flew back to Maine for another two weeks. That month was rough. And tiring.
I came back to the city having two projects with the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium lined up; we would soon have design meetings in Providence, but for the time-being, things were slow. And I needed that. I needed to recover.
And, like I said two days ago, I went on one blind-ish date that didn’t turn out to be as awesome as I’d hoped it to be. I went back to Brooklyn that night a little disappointed, and over dating for a bit.
But that didn’t last long. I met someone randomly. I had had my Facebook account for less than 8 months at that point. I was still exploring that, adding friends, filling out my profile, and trying to make my life as Internet-exciting as possible. Facebook, in turn, suggested that I get to know someone. He had gone to Yale (we were in the same networks!) for undergrad, he lived in New York (I lived there too!), and he was also gay (!). How could we not know each other?
Facebook: trying to set people up since forever.
And, me, being green to the world of social networks (remember when we all were?), added him as a friend.
And we started messaging, which lead to texting, which lead to a date.
We met in December of 2007.
We broke up in February of 2009.
To all those months in between: where do I even begin? From the first time I saw him in person, at the corner of 14th and Broadway, as I waited in the Virgin Megastore because it was too cold outside and I was wearing a hoodie under a cotton jacket because I thought it made me look cool and “designer-y” and he showed up wearing a black wool overcoat. And the walk to the Starbucks in Astor Place for coffee because I was so cold, and his ordering a hot chocolate because he didn’t drink coffee.
To the next date, the next day, when we went to see a show… and he wore his favorite shirt at the time: a red polo with a Mickey Mouse embroidered on it.
And everything else that followed for those 14 to 15 months.
It was a long relationship for me, maybe for both of us. I’m not sure if we should have tried to stay together longer or if we should have broken up sooner. As things wound down during that final winter together, and the “end date” of his time in New York started to loom heavy, I started acting badly: more insecure, more emotional, and jealous. He was leaving for work, not knowing if or when he’d be back. There was an expiration date on a calendar, and it brought back memories of how my relationship with Dave in Louisville also ended.
Why do I end up involved with men who need to go out and explore and try to broaden their horizons… alone?
I was even more of a mess after it ended. I was sad, upset, depressed, lonely, and resentful. I turned into every stereotype of the person left behind.
I still don’t know if or when I’ll date again. The sensation of feeling your chest empty, untethered to anyone, after having experienced something like that (and, yes, it was a different kind of love than my relationship with Dave) was painful. It actually hurt.
Why wasn’t I good enough for someone?
Two times in my life, the person I was involved with decided they needed to uproot everything and run across the world/country to make them a better person. I didn’t feel like I was enough. I felt like I must be repellent to send boys thousands of miles away.
It’s not a coincidence that I adopted The Dog that year.
Music I listened to while sewing: Spotify suggested a House music playlist this morning, and it’s really great.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Last night, the two other costume designers, the set designer, and I split a bottle of wine.
“Dry County” be darned.
We were up until 1am sharing stories about this experience in Arkansas, tales from grad school, random shows and acquaintances we had in common, and other theatrical cautionary tales. And that was great.
I do like working in theater. I like designing costumes for shows. I like working in costume shops. I like (most of the) people I meet and work with.
Yes, some shows are disappointing or fall flat or don’t live up to expectations. Yes, budgeting sucks. Yes, there’s never enough money and you’ll never be paid what you should be. Some people will try to take advantage of your “passion” for your “hobby.” (Grumble)
But I like it.
What don’t I like? I dislike being so poor. I dislike the constant hustle of freelance-life. I dislike not being able to have an outside life. I dislike not having the chance to be social. I dislike being lonely. I dislike having to be separated from my dog because a company refuses to put us up in a dog-friendly place.
I want a life. I want to be able to go out for dinner or drinks or a movie and spend money and not care that I just spent $20. I want to be able to go out with friends. I want to be a part of something. I want to be included in something.
That’s why New York is so frustrating to me, and why LA was so great. I was working with people daily who were excited to have me there. I was a part of a team. I went out for dinner with people. I went out for drinks when I could.
As awesome as New York is, as many resources and opportunities and dreams exist there, as many exciting and new things start there, New York is not giving me a network. It’s not letting me into a community. I work my ass off. I’ve worked 8 years there- downtown, off-Broadway, Broadway, and so on- and still I haven’t been seen as a part of something.
That’s what I feel right now. New York, you’re awesome and I think you’re great, but…
So am I.